Celine Kalante (kjorteo) wrote,
Celine Kalante

Unboxing The Story of Jonah

Hello! Tumblr kind of caught on fire and exploded, Dreamwidth welcomed all refugees and got a kjghpillion replies, and I decided to poke around [community profile] addme to see if any of the newcomers might be interested in some inane woodrat gameblogging. If you're new here, hi! Dreamwidth is nice. Us woodrats will do our best to be nice as well.

So, if you are new here, you kind of caught me in the... not even middle, but like two or three posts into the beginning of my Interlight odyssey. I'm keeping a tag here, but super-condensed version: No we're not religious, but we're into old cheesy games and retro collecting, I bought a bunch of CD-i children's Bible games by a company called Interlight that might be literally undiscovered to the modern Internet, and I'm hype to do some gaming archaeology.

Today, I got a package in the mail! Not the lot of six, but... uh... I kind of bought a separate copy of The Story of Jonah from a third-party seller on Amazon, because I wasn't sure if the eBay auction was going to pan out. Best case, everything comes in as promised and I'll end up with two copies of that particular one. For a rare-ish game (you see copies floating around eBay/Amazon occasionally, but usually not for cheap, and good luck finding anyone who ever dumped or recorded or otherwise digitally preserved them in any way) that is not a bad problem to have. Worst case? If nothing else, I at least have this one now.

I can't play it and show you what's on it yet, because the next step in the process is to figure out how to read and rip/dump the disc contents to PC, and the step after that is to look into CD-i emulation once I have a disc image to emulate. But since I now have a physical Jonah box in my hands, let's at least go over that and see what we can learn, shall we?

(Click through for larger versions)

Right away, this is a lot of validating information, and arguably already an important discovery or two. First off, Lost Sheep is the name of that sheep game I've been blathering about that got me started on this whole mess. I had completely forgotten that it lets you pick your starting location, but now that I see that screen there, I instantly recognize it. Oh, yeah. That was part of it too. Anyway, yep, that's the sheep game all right. I mean, I knew it was there of course, but it's nice just to see it and have actual evidence of it in some form I can show off. I feel validated already. (And just you wait until we get the emulating set up so I can show it in action....)

Second, compared to the MobyGames database entry for this game, they have... well, they don't have anything at all in the way of box art. Secondly, there is a slight mistake in their listed company name: MobyGames credits this and all the Bible games to Interlight Productions, Inc. If you look at the back more closely, the full company name according to what's on the box is Interlight International, Inc. Significant?

Well, according to a quick Internet search, yes. Searching for Interlight or even Interlight Productions brought up a zillion companies by that name and almost no usable leads or info for any of them. Searching for Interlight International, I found what I believe to be their company credit report (with a dissolution filed 8/25/1995) and a name and mailing address that may or may not be current, and at least two LinkedIn profiles of former Interlight employees. If I ever felt the need to track someone down for an interview or something, I have leads now, thanks to this one small name correction.

Of course, there are two big obstacles to that: 1) I need a LinkedIn account to DM people and eeehhhhhhh, and 2) what would I ask them, anyway?

At the very least, that's... premature for now. Let's revisit this option after I've played and dissected all six games. That way, we can get any potential "this raises so many questions" moments out of the way first, and then get a chance to ask them whatever was raised. :3

Still, it's an exciting development!

I was hoping to strike even more paydirt in the form of liner notes, but it turns out CD-i games (or at least this particular CD-i game) didn't really do those. The only things inside the box are the disc, a registration card, and yes I know that thing on the left looks like a giant manual or liner note set or something, and I was excited too, but....

It's a product catalogue for more exciting Philips CD-i games and accessories. I'm sure you can totally still use these numbers and contact info and order all this stuff up and this operation won't have shut down two decades ago or anything.

Given the way this catalogue is bound with those center staples, I can't scan it on a flatbed scanner without severely damaging if not outright destroying or disassembling it. That... is another option I'm keeping in my back pocket for now. If the lot of six games comes, and they all have this exact catalogue and thus I have like seven of them total, and it's something the Internet has never seen before, then it absolutely would be worth sacrificing one of them to digitally preserve this wonder. If this is the only one I end up getting, and/or if it's already scanned and viewable somewhere else I could just link to, that would make me a lot more hesitant to take such a drastic action.

For now, I just propped it open to the center page with the dust jacket (or whatever you call the outer part of the box) holding it open on one side so I could get the photo.

You know, that roller controller was what my grandparents had with their CD-i, and what I always played this and all their other CD-i games on. I thought that was the CD-i controller for the longest time. The first time adult me did an image search and found the "normal" CD-i controllers, I was... surprised, to say the least.

A lot of the games in here are a nice lead just to have the titles and the fact that they apparently existed. We're dealing with a console where seemingly a lot of titles not bearing the words "Zelda" or "Mario" somewhere in the name are completely lost to Internet history. Recall that the first major plot twist in this whole journey was when I hit up eBay looking for the Story of Jonah and found that entire Interlight Bible set, unaware that Interlight even had other games besides that one. Is there anything else mentioned in this catalogue that's similarly obscure now? If so, will at least knowing its name prove a valuable clue in tracking it down later?

One CD-i archaeology project at a time, of course. I mean, I haven't even looked at the contents of the Story of Jonah disc yet (I can't until we figure out how to rip and dump,) nor have I even received the rest of the lot in the mail. If I give each title this much attention (this entire entry was just for Jonah's box!) then we're looking at, uh, months, easily. At least. Possibly all year. So, it's safe to say that I will not be ready to even start taking on the task of hunting down these other games for a long time.

But I now have the means to, someday, should I get around to it! And that's pretty exciting.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from https://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/438295.html. Please leave all comments there; I am no longer actively maintaining my LiveJournal blogs.
Tags: interlight
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